The history of Sears – Craftsman Tractors in Pictures:
Since it is rumored that Craftsman has redesigned all of their tractors for 2014, now is a good time to do a recap of the line. I’ll give you a little history and then show you pictures from the first tractor sold in 1946 to latest 2013 models. I’m not going to go into the complete history. That would take a book and the pictures are much more interesting.
The majority of the tractors with the Sears/Craftsman name have been made by one company. The company itself has gone through many owners and is currently part of Husqvarna. The production facility is located in Orangeburg, SC. Companies now owned by Briggs & Stratton, John Deere, Agri-Fab and MTD also produced some models and attachments for Sears. In 2013 Rider and LT series were made for Craftsman by MTD and the YT and GT series were made by Husqvarna.
Click on the Picture to see a larger view.
1946 to 1949
1951 to 1953
1959 – 1960 The Hood Came Off
1964 – 1967 Craftsman Engine
The Suburban tractor was introduced in 1959 as a David Bradley and evolved over the next six years into iconic Sears Suburban tractor. The Suburban was the heavy duty workhorse of the Sears lineup until 1979. The Suburban had one of the widest arrays of implements of all the garden tractors. The Suburban was available over the years with engines of horse power ratings from 10 to 18.
The Custom tractor made it appearance in 1964 and was available through 1973. Customs were not available in 1974 or 1975 but were available in 1976; the last year for the Custom series. They were the little brothers of the Suburban tractors. Some of the early entry level Customs had the designation of Compact. The engines for the Custom series ranged from 6 HP to 10 HP. Some were manual start while others were electric. The 1973 and 1976 versions sported the ST designation and the Aztec Gold and White paint like their big brother Suburbans. The Custom tractors could handle the same 3 point hitch and ground engaging rear implements as the bigger Suburban. Front attachments were limited to the dozer blade and snow blower. The Custom front axle was flat and lighter duty than that of the Suburban. They could not handle the front end loader, sickle bar mower or the other attachments that required the Suburban mule drive mounting such as the chipper/shreader or the generator.
On September 16, 1974 at 11:30 am, the 500,000th tractor rolled off the assembly line at the Roper Outdoor Products plant. Roper began producing garden tractors in 1958. In April, 1969, the 250,00th tractor rolled out of the plant. Just five years later, the
count was up to one half million.